Thursday, February 22, 2007

If you worked on bunker shots, lag putting and your power fade every day, you could make golf look as easy as the pros on TV do. But your job, family and other commitments leave little time for improving your game. Those things won't disappear, but these three tips can help you make the most of the time you do get to spend on the range.

Think "Shag Bag"

Shortcoming: Quantity without quality
Hitting bucket after bucket of balls screws up the average player more than it helps him. When players practiced with a shag bag, no one carelessly sprayed shots around because you had to pick them up. Today, guys slice a practice shot, scrape another ball over, tee it up and hit it before the first one even lands. There is no benefit in that.

Solution: Have a goal
Practice with a task to complete instead of just buying a bucket of balls and taking 45 whacks. Think about your targets, imagine the ball flight you want to produce, and pleaseĀ—take your time! Before every fifth shot, go through your entire on-course preshot routine. Once you have accomplished your goal for that practice session, leave. Strike a Pose

Shortcoming: Downplaying the good
Ever seen Tiger Woods rip a shot and not even watch the ball? Don't do that. Visual imagery is powerful, and you want to burn positive memories into your brain. Think about old photos of Babe Ruth posing on a homer. That's the feeling you want. Solution: ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE Look away from poor shots, but savor the good ones. When you hit one just right, associate it with the sensations and thoughts the shot produced so you can make it happen again more easily.

Write It Down

Shortcoming: Stuck in a rut
Every golfer goes through slumps, but too many club players waste time on the range while hoping their swing will magically reappear.

Solution: Recall past greatness
Carry a notebook in your bag and every time you hit a good shot on the course, jot down when, where and how it felt. It will become a great resource of swing thoughts to help you out of a slump. Dr. Richard Coop is GOLF MAGAZINE's mental-game consultant.

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